With so much to see and do in and around Nanaimo, an Island staycation can take the stress out of trip planning and help save some money on long-distance travel expenses. Read on for some great ideas on how to have the ultimate getaway in Nanaimo.

Plenty of flavour

You can’t visit Nanaimo without indulging in the city’s world-famous sweet treat. There are many options to satisfy your Nanaimo Bar craving, each delectable and unique. Follow the Nanaimo Bar Trail to any combination of over 35 varieties; choose from classic, specialty, vegan, ice cream, cheesecake, and even cotton candy Nanaimo bar renditions! Suppose you want a satisfying meal to level out the sugar high. In that case, Nanaimo offers plenty of fantastic restaurant options. Take a charming foot ferry to The Dinghy Dock Pub (open Friday to Sunday) and admire striking views of the sun setting behind Mount Benson while you dine. For beer enthusiasts, Nanaimo boasts plenty of craft beverages to quench your thirst.

The best of the outdoors

There is an incredible selection of outdoor wonders to explore in the Nanaimo region. Some local favourites include the tidal lagoon at Pipers Park, sandstone rock formations at Malaspina Galleries, the Abyss fault line, and hiking to Ammonite Falls. Another option to experience nature is to go on a whale-watching tour. Passengers often witness orcas, humpback whales, and other marine life, such as seals and sea lions. The waters around Nanaimo are also excellent for fishing and crabbing. Local guides know where to find the big ones. If kayaking is more your style, the protected waters of the area’s lakes and harbours are full of secret coves and inlets to explore. Kayaking is also one of the best ways to spot wildlife or catch a coastal sunset.

Nanaimo bars | Jordan Geisbrecht

Take a trip on your trip

Just minutes from downtown, Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park and a visit to Saysutshun are excellent ideas for your staycation itinerary. Take a short boat ride—a ferry runs seasonally from Maffeo Sutton Park to the island—and enjoy the perfect day trip or spend the night and camp on a beautiful oceanside site. The island offers basic tent sites, walking trails, an interpretive centre, a café, and more. Plus, consider booking a walking tour to learn more about the island’s important connections to the Snuneymuxw First Nation.

Meaningful gifts galore

If you’re looking for a souvenir, downtown Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter features plenty of quaint and unique shops where you can find amazing one-of-a-kind gifts. From fashion boutiques to toy stores, these shops offer something for everyone. Aside from great shopping, the Old City Quarter also offers historic charm with cobbled walkways and buildings that have maintained their classic look and feel. For another special shopping experience, consider driving the Cedar Yellow Point Artisan Trail loop. It’s a great option to take in beautiful sights while visiting farms and supporting local artists by purchasing their creations.

When it comes to the ultimate staycation, Nanaimo offers plenty to experience—all in a beautiful and pristine natural setting.

Start planning your Nanaimo getaway at tourismnanaimo.com/StartHere

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